Cox Denies Verizon’s Patent Claims

Cox Communications, in a court filing Tuesday, denied that it infringed voice patents owned by Verizon Communications and requested that the case be dismissed.

Verizon filed suit against Cox on Jan. 11 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging the cable operator infringes eight patents related to delivering phone service over data communications networks. The telco last month lobbed a similar suit against Charter Communications.

In its response and counterclaim Tuesday, Cox denied that it “is infringing or has infringed any Verizon patent.”

Cox also seeks a declaration that the eight patents are invalid and charged that Verizon did not have “a well-founded, good-faith belief that Cox infringed” the patents.

Verizon’s actions against Cox and Charter come after its courtroom victories last year against Vonage. Last March, Vonage was found guilty of infringing three Verizon patents by a jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Vonage appealed the decision, but a federal appeals court affirmed the lower court’s ruling on two of the three patents. The Internet voice provider subsequently paid Verizon $120 million to settle the suit.

Cox asserted that those two patents – U.S. Patent No. 6,104,711 and 6,282,574, which cover the translation of text-based names into routing addresses for Internet-based communications – were not just invalid but also unenforceable. That’s because, according to Cox’s filing, Verizon “failed to disclose all non-cumulative, material prior art of which Verizon was aware to the Patent Office” during the patent-review process.

Verizon executive director of media relations David Fish declined to comment on Cox’s filing.

On Feb. 21, the case was reassigned from the court’s Norfolk, Va., division to Judge Claude Hilton in Alexandria, Va., at the request of Verizon – a motion Cox opposed. Hilton is the judge who presided over the Verizon case against Vonage.

The court has scheduled a pretrial conference in Verizon v. Cox for June 19. The trial is set to begin four to eight weeks after that.